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PM calls federal election for October 14

by Keith Corcoran

 COUNTY - Voters on the South Shore and across the country are heading to the polls next month.

 After a weekend visit to the Governor General at Rideau Hall for the dissolution of Parliament, Prime Minister Stephen Harper called a general federal election for October 14, ending one of the longest parliamentary minority governments in Canadian history.

 It appears the riding of South Shore-St. Margarets will have four candidates to choose from.

 The incumbent is Conservative Gerald Keddy, 55, a former Christmas tree farmer, who was parliamentary secretary for two federal departments at the time of the election call. He is seeking his fifth term in office.

 Mr. Keddy secured 37 per cent of the popular vote (15,108 votes) in the last federal election of January 2006.

 "Canadians are paying their lowest taxes in nearly 40 years and families, individuals and seniors are benefiting," Mr. Keddy told this newspaper, pointing out that he feels it's important Canadians stick with a Conservative government given oncoming "economic uncertainty" globally.

 "I firmly believe that experience, fiscal prudence and common sense must continue to carry the direction of important government decisions that affect all of us, my family and I included," Mr. Keddy said.

 The New Democrats are countering with Gordon Earle, 65, a former Halifax West MP and retired civil servant. Mr. Earle received 29 per cent of the popular vote (11,689 votes) in 2006.

 Mr. Earle said the Harper government has done little on promises to improve the environment and health care, protect jobs and close the gap between the rich and everyone else.

 "This makes it more important than ever that we in South Shore-St. Margarets elect someone who will put the everyday folks, working families and those without work first, someone who will honour commitments and make sure that no one is left behind," he said, promising an open, honest and caring campaign. "If we wish to offer people hope for the future and if we wish to bring about meaningful change then we who wish to serve must embody those characteristics."

 Bridgewater chiropractor Dr. Bill Smith, 40, once an NDP candidate in the provincial riding of Lunenburg West, is gunning for the seat for the Liberal party. The candidate for the grits last time, who was not Dr. Smith, received 11,629 votes and 28 per cent of the popular vote.

 Dr. Smith suggests Mr. Keddy has been in office too long and is too cosy with Mr. Harper.

 "In his time in office Mr. Keddy has proven one thing - he has become Stephen Harper's representative on the South Shore rather than our representative in Ottawa," Dr. Smith said. "I will be successful because I have one overriding belief. My belief is that it is my job to speak and act on behalf of the people of this riding. This time our voice will be heard."

 The Green party is pinning their hopes on Fox Point resident and high school teacher Michael Oddy, 50.

 In 2006, when Mr. Oddy was not the candidate, the Greens achieved three per cent of the popular vote (1,198 votes).

 "We need a dramatic change in direction based on green principles, ecological wisdom, sustainability, non-violence, social justice and participatory democracy," Mr. Oddy stated. "We need to adopt the wisdom of thinking seven generations hence. A green vote is a positive vote for our children's future."

 It wasn't immediately known if the Christian Heritage party would run a candidate in this riding in 2008 as they did in 2006.

 At dissolution, the Conservatives had 127 seats in Parliament, Liberals 95, Bloc Quebecois 48 and NDP 30. There were four independent seats and four seats were vacant.

posted on 09/09/08
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